Dr Sebastian Deterding

Dr Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on playful, persuasive, and gameful design (or »gamification«). He is broadly interested in how code shapes conduct, how software and games pervade everyday life – and what ramifications this holds for individuals, communities, ethics, and design.

He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) and the School of Interactive Games & Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, and an affiliated researcher at the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg, Germany, as well as a GEElab Fellow. As an independent designer, he is working for clients such as the BBC, BMW, Greenpeace, Otto Group, Xing, or Tribal DDB, as well as several startups. He is co-editor with the GEElab's director Steffen P. Walz of »The Gameful World«, a book about the wider consequences of the ludification of culture, to appear with The MIT Press in 2014, cf. www.gamefulworld.org.

Sebastian is an internationally sought-after speaker who has been invited to present at venues like Lift, Interaction, GDC Online, Games Learning Society, Web Directions, Playful, Google, IDEO, and Microsoft Research, and has been been featured on TED. His work on gameful design has been covered by The Guardian, The New Scientist, the Los Angeles Times and EDGE Magazine among others.

Before starting his own consultancy www.codingconduct.cc, he has worked as user experience designer at Europe's largest magazine publisher, Gruner+Jahr, and as Program Manager Multimedia at the German Federal Agency for Civic Education. He was the product manager of Germany's most popular voting-related e-democracy application, Wahl-O-Mat, project lead of a social networking site for civic youth engagement, and project lead UX on the redesign of one of Germany's largest news sites.

Sebastian studied comparative literature, communication, psychology and philosophy at the Westphalian Wilhelms University, Münster and Brown University, Providence, and holds an M.A. in comparative literature. He defended a PhD in media studies at the graduate school of the Research Center for Media and Communication, Hamburg University, supported by a grant of the Hamburg Federal Initiative of Research Excellence. His doctoral thesis looks into the unwritten norms of gaming, and how instrumental play phenomena such as serious games or gamification differ from everyday leisurely gaming.

He remains incredulous that a youth of boardgaming and dungeon keeping should have amounted to something in the end.